Arkansas Politics

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

In the last two election cycles, one political party in Arkansas has fielded a full slate of candidates to challenge the Republicans for state and federal offices, and it’s not the Democrats.

Members of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas competed for all state constitutional offices and in all congressional races in 2014 and are on the ballot in all congressional races this year. In the First, Third and Fourth Congressional Districts, Republican incumbents are challenged only by Libertarian opponents.

John Boozman Conner Eldridge Senate Advertising campaign ad

Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Conner Eldridge has released his second campaign ad targeting incumbent John Boozman of Arkansas over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Like an online advertisement a week ago, the one released Tuesday features clips of Trump and an interview statement with Boozman saying, "I'll support the candidate regardless of who we pick, whether (it's) Donald Trump." 

State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’ State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, a conservative Christian and abortion opponent, says he will support his party’s nominee for president, even if it is Donald Trump. 

Rapert told KUAR Wednesday he is “extremely” pro-life and that any Republican candidate will be better than Hillary Clinton. Most recently, he backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who ended his campaign Tuesday. Earlier in the campaign season, Rapert had supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who dropped out after failing to get much support. 

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The chairmen of Arkansas' largest political parties managed to agree on how legislators put together a Medicaid expansion plan that uses federal dollars to buy health care insurance for poorer residents.

Democratic Party Chairman Vince Insalaco told the Political Animals club on Tuesday that Republicans had a "Jesus" moment in extending benefits, while Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said the health care plan is good with "a conservative spin." Through a handful of political machinations, legislators extended what is now called "Arkansas Works."

Little Rock School District buses

The Little Rock School District's Civic Advisory Committee is asking that Education Commissioner Johnny Key be removed from his role.

Co-Chair Greg Adams says his personal perspective is Key’s choice to replace Superintendent Baker Kurrus with Bentonville School District Superintendent Michael Poore was abrupt and disrespectful.

Arkansas Capitol
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Legislation outlining Arkansas' $5.3 billion budget for the coming year calls for funding increases for the state's Department of Human Services and public schools, with $13.8 million in money being set aside for the rainy day fund.

Legislative leaders on Sunday released the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a $142.7 million increase in spending. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam says he expects his chamber to take up the legislation on Wednesday with lawmakers hoping to wrap up the fiscal session this week.

Republican Sen. John Boozman says Arkansans receiving coverage through the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion could still be covered through a block-grant system if the federal health overhaul is repealed. His Democratic challenger says that statement rings hollow given the incumbent lawmaker's criticism of the federal law over the years.

Arkansas State Capitol
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An attempt in Arkansas to limit how welfare recipients can spend their benefits has stalled before a legislative panel. The Joint Budget Committee voted 24-14 Thursday in favor of the proposal by Republican Rep. Jim Dotson to seek a federal waiver for the new limits on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A commission that oversees building developments and land-use projects in around the state Capitol and Little Rock’s Governor’s Mansion neighborhood could be dissolved. The Arkansas legislature is considering special language to an appropriations bill that would end the Capitol Zoning District Commission and transfer its duties to the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland want to amend a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' abortion restrictions, including dropping a challenge to a law requiring abortion pill providers to follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.